Not having an estate plan

¿Qué pasa si no tengo un plan de sucesión?

La planificación del patrimonio es un aspecto vital de la preparación para el futuro, sin embargo, muchas personas pueden encontrarse procrastinar o pasar por alto esta importante tarea. Si usted no tiene un plan de sucesión en su lugar, usted puede estar dejando un aspecto importante de su vida y su legado al azar. Debe tomarse el tiempo necesario para crear un plan de sucesión completo con la ayuda de profesionales del derecho para asegurarse de que se cumplen sus deseos y de que sus seres queridos reciben lo que usted desea.

Consecuencias de no tener un plan de sucesión

 Las leyes de sucesión testamentaria determinan la distribución de bienes

Sin un testamento o fideicomiso, sus bienes se distribuirán de acuerdo con las leyes de sucesión intestada de su estado. Esto significa que el gobierno decidirá cómo repartir sus bienes entre los miembros supervivientes de su familia, lo que puede conducir a resultados que usted no pretendía.

El tribunal designa tutores para los hijos menores

Si tiene hijos menores de edad y no ha designado un tutor en su plan sucesorio, el tribunal nombrará un tutor basándose en su evaluación del interés superior del menor. Esto puede no coincidir con sus preferencias o con las personas que usted hubiera elegido para criar a sus hijos.

Posibles disputas familiares

La ausencia de un plan sucesorio claro puede dar lugar a disputas familiares y conflictos sobre el reparto de bienes. Esto puede tensar las relaciones entre los miembros supervivientes de la familia y conducir a largas y costosas batallas legales.

Sin control sobre las decisiones sanitarias

Sin una directiva sanitaria o un testamento vital, las decisiones sobre su atención médica y el final de su vida pueden ser tomadas por personas que no conocen sus preferencias. Esta falta de control puede dar lugar a intervenciones o resultados médicos que usted no habría elegido.

Aumento de los costes y retrasos de la sucesión

El proceso sucesorio puede resultar más complejo y costoso sin un plan sucesorio claro. Esto puede provocar retrasos en la distribución de los bienes a los beneficiarios, causando tensiones financieras y frustración.

Planificación fiscal ineficaz

La planificación del patrimonio incluye estrategias para minimizar las obligaciones fiscales de sus herederos. Sin un plan, su patrimonio puede incurrir en impuestos innecesarios, reduciendo la cantidad que se transmite a sus seres queridos.

Oportunidades limitadas de donaciones benéficas

Si tiene intenciones benéficas, un plan de sucesión puede permitirle apoyar las causas que le interesan. Sin un plan de sucesión, su capacidad de hacer contribuciones benéficas significativas puede verse limitada, lo que afectará al legado que deja.

Posibilidad de beneficiarios imprevistos

En ausencia de un plan sucesorio claro, parientes lejanos o personas que usted no tenía intención de incluir como beneficiarios pueden heredar parte de su patrimonio, lo que puede dar lugar a resultados contrarios a sus deseos.

Ausencia de estrategias de protección de activos

La planificación de la sucesión ofrece oportunidades para la protección de activos, garantizando que su patrimonio se preserve en beneficio de los herederos que usted elija. Sin estas estrategias, sus activos pueden ser vulnerables a los acreedores y a las leyes.

Riesgos de los planes sucesorios poco profesionales y ambiguos

  • Ambigüedad en la distribución de activos
  • Beneficiarios imprevistos
  • Disputas familiares y desafíos legales
  • Cuidado inadecuado de los hijos menores
  • Ineficiencias fiscales
  • Falta de consideración de activos específicos
  • Donaciones caritativas ineficaces
  • Directivas sanitarias poco claras
  • Falta de planificación de la continuidad del negocio
  • Desafíos en las responsabilidades del albacea

¿Por qué debería contratar los servicios de un abogado especializado en planificación patrimonial?

Un abogado especializado en planificación patrimonial puede adaptar su plan a sus circunstancias y preferencias particulares. Se toman el tiempo necesario para comprender sus objetivos específicos, la dinámica familiar y la situación financiera para crear un plan personalizado y eficaz. También pueden ayudarle a anticipar y abordar cuestiones como impuestos, sucesiones y disputas familiares, minimizando el riesgo de complicaciones en el futuro.

Los planes de sucesión redactados por profesionales utilizan un lenguaje preciso en los documentos legales para evitar ambigüedades y malas interpretaciones. Esta claridad es vital para garantizar que sus intenciones se transmitan con precisión y se cumplan. Los abogados ofrecen un enfoque integral, teniendo en cuenta aspectos como las directivas sanitarias, los poderes notariales y los planes de sucesión empresarial, si procede.

Si es necesaria la legalización de un testamento, un abogado especializado en planificación patrimonial puede guiar a su albacea a lo largo del proceso, asegurándose de que sus bienes se distribuyan de acuerdo con sus deseos y de conformidad con los requisitos legales.

Aspectos que debe incluir en su plan de sucesión

Un plan sucesorio completo implica tener en cuenta diversos aspectos de su vida y sus bienes. Estos son algunos elementos clave que no puede dejar de incluir en su plan de sucesión:

Última voluntad y testamento: El testamento describe cómo desea que se distribuyan sus bienes tras su fallecimiento. También le permite nombrar un albacea que cumpla sus deseos y un tutor para los hijos menores si es necesario.

Poder financiero: Este documento designa a alguien para que tome decisiones financieras en su nombre si usted queda incapacitado. Otorga autoridad para gestionar sus finanzas, pagar facturas y gestionar otros asuntos financieros.

Poder médico: Similar al poder financiero, un poder sanitario designa a alguien para que tome decisiones médicas en su nombre si usted no puede hacerlo. Esto incluye decisiones sobre opciones de tratamiento, intervenciones quirúrgicas y cuidados al final de la vida.

Testamento vital o documento de voluntades anticipadas: Este documento describe sus preferencias sobre tratamientos médicos y cuidados al final de la vida. Orienta a los profesionales sanitarios y a sus seres queridos sobre sus deseos en situaciones en las que no pueda comunicarse.

Designación de beneficiarios: Debe asegurarse de que sus designaciones de beneficiarios en cuentas como pólizas de seguro de vida, cuentas de jubilación y cuentas bancarias estén actualizadas. Estas designaciones normalmente anulan las instrucciones de su testamento, por lo que es esencial mantenerlas actualizadas.

Elija Forever Estate Plans para soluciones patrimoniales integrales

Forever Estate Plan puede asegurar que sus deseos únicos sean cuidadosamente documentados y legalmente sólidos. Las circunstancias de su vida pueden cambiar, y nosotros estamos aquí para apoyarle en cada paso. Nuestra presencia a nivel nacional asegura que, sin importar a donde lo lleve la vida, nuestras soluciones integrales y personalizadas de planificación patrimonial sean accesibles y personalizadas para satisfacer sus necesidades únicas. Obtenga más información sobre nuestros planes de sucesión llamando al (803) 792-0793 o visitando nuestro sitio web.

Understanding The Basics of Landlord-Tenant Law

Comprender los Fundamentos de la Ley de Arrendatario-Inquilino

Las relaciones entre propietarios e inquilinos son una parte integral del panorama inmobiliario, regidas por un conjunto de leyes diseñadas para proteger los derechos y responsabilidades de ambas partes. Tanto si usted es propietario de arrendamiento de bienes o un inquilino en busca de un lugar que pueda llamarlo hogar, la comprensión de los fundamentos de la ley de propietario-inquilino es necesario.

Un abogado inmobiliario con experiencia puede ayudarle a entender los componentes clave, y a la vez informarlo sobre los derechos, deberes y protecciones que se conceden tanto a los propietarios como a los inquilinos.

Contratos de arrendamiento

 La relación entre propietario e inquilino se basa en el contrato de arrendamiento. Este documento jurídicamente vinculante establece los términos y condiciones del arrendamiento, incluido el importe del alquiler, el calendario de pagos, la duración del contrato y cualquier norma o reglamento específico. Es esencial que ambas partes revisen y entiendan a fondo las condiciones antes de firmar, para garantizar una comprensión clara de sus respectivas obligaciones.

Un contrato de alquiler propiamente redactado debe articular claramente los términos y condiciones del arrendamiento, incluyendo:

  • Descripción de la propiedad
  • Normas y Reglamentos
  • Detalles de la fianza
  • Mantenimiento y reparaciones
  • Cláusulas de renovación y rescisión
  • Firma de ambas partes

Derechos del inquilino

Los inquilinos disfrutan de una serie de derechos concebidos para proteger su bienestar y garantizar un trato justo. Estos son algunos derechos básicos:

  • Los inquilinos tienen derecho a un espacio habitable, el que debe cumplir con las normas básicas de salud y seguridad, mientras que los propietarios son responsables de resolver los problemas que afecten a la habitabilidad.
  • Los inquilinos tienen derecho a intimidad dentro de la vivienda alquilada, y los propietarios deben avisar antes de entrar en la misma, salvo en caso de emergencia.
  • Los inquilinos están protegidos contra la discriminación por motivos de raza, sexo, religión o discapacidad, ya que las leyes de vivienda justa prohíben las prácticas discriminatorias.
  • Los inquilinos tienen derecho al disfrute tranquilo, lo que significa que pueden disfrutar del espacio alquilado sin interferencias innecesarias del propietario.

Responsabilidades del propietario

Los propietarios también tienen responsabilidades específicas establecidas por ley. Conocer estas responsabilidades ayuda a los propietarios a evitar problemas legales y a mantener una relación positiva entre propietario e inquilino.

  • Los propietarios son responsables de proporcionar un espacio habitable, asegurándose de que la propiedad cumple las normas básicas de salud y seguridad.
  • Deben respetar el derecho a la intimidad de los inquilinos, exigiendo un aviso previo adecuado antes de entrar en los locales alquilados, salvo en caso de emergencia.
  • Se prohíbe a los propietarios incurrir en prácticas discriminatorias, de conformidad con las leyes de vivienda justa que protegen a los inquilinos contra la discriminación basada en diversos factores.
  • Se respeta el derecho al disfrute tranquilo, que permite a los inquilinos disfrutar del espacio alquilado sin interferencias indebidas del propietario.
  • Deben respetarse las normas sobre el depósito de garantía, y los propietarios están obligados a dar cuenta detallada de cualquier deducción del mismo.
  • Deben abstenerse de tomar represalias, garantizando que los inquilinos puedan denunciar condiciones inseguras o solicitar reparaciones sin temor al desahucio u otras represalias.

Procedimientos de desahucio

En determinadas situaciones, los propietarios pueden verse obligados a iniciar un procedimiento de desahucio por impago del alquiler, incumplimiento del contrato u otros motivos válidos.

Motivos legales de desahucio: Normalmente, los propietarios sólo pueden desahuciar a los inquilinos por motivos específicos, como el impago del alquiler, el incumplimiento de las condiciones del contrato u otros motivos legales. Es esencial establecer razones válidas para el desalojo.

Notificación de desalojo o subsanación: Normalmente, los propietarios deben entregar al inquilino una notificación por escrito en la que se especifique el motivo del desalojo y, en algunos casos, se le ofrezca la oportunidad de subsanar el problema (pagar el alquiler atrasado, corregir una infracción del contrato, etc.). El plazo de notificación varía según la jurisdicción y el motivo del desahucio.

Presentar una demanda de desahucio: Si el inquilino no cumple con la notificación de desalojo o subsanación, el propietario puede presentar una demanda de desalojo, a menudo conocida como acción de retención ilícita, ante el tribunal correspondiente. El propietario debe pagar las tasas de presentación requeridas y presentar los documentos necesarios, incluida la notificación entregada al inquilino.

Depósitos de garantía

Los depósitos de seguridad desempeñan un papel importante en las relaciones entre propietarios e inquilinos. Los Estados tienen reglamentos específicos sobre el cobro, uso y devolución de los depósitos de seguridad. Ambas partes deben conocer estas normas para evitar disputas al final del contrato.

  • Los propietarios pueden cobrar un depósito de garantía a los inquilinos para cubrir posibles daños o impagos del alquiler.
  • Los depósitos de garantía están destinados a cubrir los daños más allá del desgaste normal y los alquileres impagados.
  • Los propietarios deben mantener el depósito de garantía en una cuenta separada y proporcionar una lista detallada de las deducciones al final del arrendamiento.
  • Los propietarios pueden deducir cantidades por impago del alquiler, gastos de reparación más allá del desgaste normal y otros motivos especificados.
  • Si el propietario tiene intención de retener alguna parte del depósito de garantía, debe notificárselo al inquilino por escrito, detallando los motivos de las deducciones.

La Importancia de contar con la representación de un abogado inmobiliario

Un abogado inmobiliario con experiencia puede revisar a fondo el contrato de arrendamiento para garantizar su legalidad y equidad. Puede identificar términos ambiguos, posibles lagunas o cláusulas que puedan plantear problemas legales en caso de litigio.

Si el desalojo se hace necesario, un abogado inmobiliario puede guiar a los propietarios a través de los procedimientos legales adecuados, asegurándose de que se entregan todas las notificaciones requeridas y de que el proceso de desalojo se lleva a cabo de acuerdo con la ley. Para los inquilinos que se enfrentan a un desahucio, un abogado puede ayudar a crear defensas sólidas y utilizar recursos legales.

Además, los abogados pueden actuar como mediadores eficaces, ayudando a negociar acuerdos entre propietarios e inquilinos. Esto puede ser particularmente beneficioso para evitar procedimientos judiciales costosos y lentos.

Consulte hoy mismo a nuestros abogados expertos en derecho inmobiliario.

No deje que las disputas entre propietarios e inquilinos se conviertan en prolongadas batallas legales. Actúe ahora para asegurar su tranquilidad legal. Los experimentados abogados inmobiliarios de Johannesmeyer & Sawyer, PLLC pueden guiarle a través de cada paso del proceso, asegurando una resolución justa y legal adaptada a su situación particular.

Para programar su consulta gratuita, llámenos al (803) 396-3800 o rellene este formulario de contacto en línea.

Demystifying Escrow Accounts

Demystifying Escrow Accounts

If you are closing on a home or refinancing, there’s a good chance you’ll come across the words “escrow account” or “impounds” numerous times.

At the most basic level, an escrow account is a savings account that is funded at closing and maintained by your lender so they have funds to pay the property taxes and homeowners insurance for the property they are lending on.

Funds in the escrow account are kept current by the borrower paying into it each month. A portion of every mortgage payment goes into the escrow account, so sufficient funds are available to pay the taxes and homeowners insurance premiums when those payments come due each year.

Why?

The mortgage company wants their asset to be protected. If they can make sure that the taxes are paid and the property is properly insured, their investment (the real estate) is better protected and there is less risk that a tax lien results on the property and/or there is property damage to the home while it’s uninsured.

Pros

Many homeowners like having an escrow account because, as explained above, it acts as a kind of savings account for these larger bills that must be paid annually for you to continue owning your property. Instead of having to stroke a check when the taxes are due, you just let the lender pay the taxes for you. This way, if you budget to be able to afford your monthly mortgage payment, you will in essence be saving for your tax bill and homeowners policy premium simultaneously.

Cons

Depending on the size of your home, the amount of funds in your escrow account is not insignificant, particularly right before one of the bills is due to be paid. Some homeowners dislike the lender being able to make interest on their money in escrow when in theory, that money could be making the borrower interest instead.

Escrow accounts are typically maintained by servicing companies. While not all bad, sometimes servicers make mistakes when handling your escrows. Homeowners tend to dislike having to work with a servicer to sort out escrow issues, which can be anything from an improper overage issued to the borrower, to a missed payment altogether.

Servicers are imperfect, like anything else. By and large most work to efficiently pay your taxes and insurance, but it never hurts to double check behind them. Contact your insurance company to confirm they’ve received payment each year. You can also search the property tax records to verify that the county/local entity where your property is located received payment for the property taxes. Most counties maintain this public information online.

Can I get rid of my escrow account?

The short answer is yes, but it will cost you. Lenders typically require an escrow account be established at closing as a portion of the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment if they are putting less than a twenty percent (20%) down payment on the property. Even if you meet the down payment requirement, some lenders will require the borrower to pay an escrow waiver fee, and/or they may charge a slightly higher interest rate if you choose to forego escrow.

Read the fine print and discuss in detail with your lender the costs (if any) associated with waiving the escrow requirement.

Why does it look like I’m being charged twice for escrows?

A common question I get at closing is why the escrow “closing costs” are so high. It also can appear that borrowers are “being charged double” for escrows as well. This is for several reasons.

First – homeowners insurance premiums are paid in advance. There is typically a 12-month premium that is collected and paid at closing to the insurance company to insure the property for the upcoming year.

Second – property taxes in the Carolinas are paid in arrears. This is the opposite of the insurance. The amount of funds deposited in the escrow account for property taxes will depend on when you close. For South Carolina, the property tax bills come out in October. In North Carolina, the property tax bills come out in late July/early August.

As an example, if you close in the month of August on a SC property, your lender is typically going to collect 11 months worth of property taxes as part of what is called the “initial escrow payment at closing” on the buyer’s Closing Disclosure. Why eleven months? Well, a closing in August typically results in a first mortgage payment due in the month of October, which is the same month that the current tax bill comes out. So that will be one more payment for the taxes, which brings your escrow account to 12 months, or a full year’s worth of property taxes in the account so that the lender can pay the bill once it is received.

Conclusion

Understanding escrow accounts in general and as they apply to your particular property will help ensure a smooth closing process with your lender and your closing attorney. As mentioned above, more expensive real estate requires that higher amounts be escrowed, so it’s important to take the monthly escrow costs into account when determining what real estate you can afford to buy and maintain.

The Real Estate Information Gap

The Real Estate Information Gap

As a closing attorney in Fort Mill, South Carolina I have the privilege of working with a lot of families every single day. Individuals are relocating to the Carolinas for a variety of reasons – a new job, lower taxes, better climate, proximity to grandchildren, the list goes on! People are starting new chapters to their lives, and I am honored that I get to play a part in their real estate purchases and sales.

Now that we’re another year removed from the pandemic, everyone knows the real estate market is competitive. Inventory is low! There are a myriad of moving parts, details, terminology, as well as different industries involved in a real estate transaction. To break it down briefly, most individuals work with a lender, a real estate agent, and a closing attorney and/or title company to facilitate their closing.

The lender, which can be a banker, loan officer with a mortgage company, or a broker, is the entity that provides the financing for the transaction. They control the terms under which they will lend money – known as a mortgage – to a borrower to purchase real property. Mortgage lenders will almost always insist on retaining a security interest in the house being purchased as collateral for their loan.

The real estate agent or REALTOR is the licensed professional that is qualified to sell you the property you want to purchase (confusingly known as a “seller’s agent” or “buyer’s agent”) or sell (known as a “list agent”). Most realtors have access to the properties you want to view in order to determine if you want to buy it, and are typically knowledgeable of the neighborhoods, communities and cities in which they work and where their clients want to live.

And then there is the closing attorney and/or the title company. Closing attorneys are required to supervise and conduct real estate transactions in South Carolina, and while title companies can handle them in NC, the requirement is essentially the same there as well. Other states have title companies handle real estate transactions, so it’s always important to research the laws of the jurisdiction in which you are considering a real estate purchase. The closing attorney prepares all of the legal documents needed for a real estate transaction, handles all of the funds for the parties and the lender, and ensures the signing ceremonies are conducted properly and in compliance with state law.

Aside from the delightful families who I get to meet at closings – the best part of my job is the collaboration that takes place between my office and our realtor and lender partners. In order for a transaction to feel effortless and smooth for a buyer or seller, strong communication is key throughout the entire process, from signing the contract until disbursing of the funds. Educating the clients as they move through each step of the transaction is crucial to their understanding.

Real estate is as busy as ever, and I am truly living out my dream job each day. This calling has led me to want to serve my clients and partners at a higher level. And it’s led me to the discovery of this problem that nobody in the industry wants to talk about. That problem is the information gap that exists in the industry.

The reason that collaboration is the best part about my job is in part because it is so important. And if that communication breaks down or education of process by any of the industry partners is missing, the clients suffer. It certainly is heartbreaking when I have buyers sit down with me at a closing to buy a house, and it becomes evident that they haven’t had that education along the way.

I understand how the industry works, as it is a business. Lenders, realtors and closing attorneys all operate on a volume basis. There will always be pressure to work efficiently so as to serve as many clients as possible. There is nothing wrong with growing a team and having ambitious goals to reach more clients. But the high volume of work cannot come at the expense of skipping steps or failing to educate each and every client so they can make informed decisions.

As a subset of this communication gap is the uncertainty as to whose role it is among the industry partners to explain what to the client. Some items are clear-cut. Certainly a realtor should not be practicing law and a closing attorney should not be examining a borrower’s credit to determine the amount they can borrow. Those are easy examples. Other nuances of the industry involve a lot of overlap, and it’s not so clear as to who should carry the responsibility of educating the client on the matter.

That’s where Johannesmeyer & Sawyer, PLLC comes in. Rather than “passing the buck” so to speak to another industry partner, this blog will lean into the topics that every buyer and seller of real estate should understand. As a closing attorney, I’ve got a good grasp on the legal aspects of the real estate transaction. Beyond what can be learned in a textbook, I’ve had the benefit of conducting an average of 4-5 residential closings a day for over four years, and I’ve heard the common questions that come up time and time again from our sellers, buyers, and refinancers.

The goal of this blog is to decrease the information gap, one post at a time. And the intent is to be collaborative. When appropriate I’ll have realtor and lender partners co-author a piece so that we can fully capture the collective expertise of the industry. The end result will be a rich depository of topics that buyers, sellers, realtors and lenders can all access, for free. Equipped with more information and knowledge, parties can more effectively carry out their real estate transactions.

I hope you will join me in this effort to provide accessible knowledge to facilitate more informed real estate transactions in the Carolinas, and beyond.

Don't Forget About Your Furry Kids in Your Estate Plan

Don’t Forget About Your Furry Kids in Your Estate Plan

Make sure you take care of your fury kids, too. Trust provisions are an easy way to make sure every member of your family is covered when something happens to you.

If you have kids, chances are your will has some basic trust provisions for them – if both parents are gone, the trust provisions cover the things like healthcare, education, and putting food on the table and roof over their head. Your will also has guardian provisions – who is going to take care of your kids if you’re no longer around.

If you have kids under the age of 18, and you don’t have a will, then drop everything and get this taken care of now. I’m happy to help – just shoot me a message or email me at bobby@meethelm.com to get the ball rolling.

But what about your furry kids? If your family’s relationship with pets is anything like mine, then the fury kid is probably the true first kid in the family. Yep. Katie and I got Cinder a good 4 years before Tripp showed up.

Cinder is as much a part of the family as our 3 kids. All of us know someone (or have had to go through the process) of putting a beloved family pet to sleep. It’s heart-breaking – like losing a member of the family. So why shouldn’t we provide for them in our estate plan?

Unfortunately, the law treats pets like personal property. In other words, the law doesn’t see any difference between Cinder, our dog that’s been with us for 12 years, and my golf clubs. You’ve made sure your human kids are covered. You should probably make sure your fury kids are covered. And mind you – I’m not discriminating against reptiles, birds, or any other pet that doesn’t have fur. In fact, if your family pet falls outside of your standard dog or cat, then it is even more important to take care of the pests in your estate plan.

How do we do it? Well, you have trust provisions for your kids. Why not have trust provisions for your pets? A pet trust. We’ve all heard about the lady who left tens of thousands of dollars to her cat. Same idea – but we’re not actually giving the money to the cat, or dog, or snake, or whatever. We give the money to someone who will take care of the pet; just like we set aside money for someone to take care of our kids.

You shouldn’t take it for granted that someone is going to volunteer to take care of your pet when something happens to you. Pets can get expensive quickly. One estimate shows that the pet care industry could reach almost $100 billion annually by 2020. This should come as no surprise, but there are veterinary specialists just like there are specialists for humans. There are neurologists for dogs; oncologists; therapists who prescribe Prozac type drugs for pets who have anxiety issues.

And here’s the problem with assuming someone will just show up: if no one steps up, then your fury kid is going to the pound / animal control. And if no one adopts them, well…

So here’s what should be included in your estate plan for your pets: designate someone to take care of the pet. Make sure this person is cool with adopting your pet.

Put pet trust provisions in your will. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Set aside a certain amount, and then give the person who will be adopting your pet the authority to use the funds to take care of your fury kid. You know – food, shelter, vet bills, trips to the doggie spa. All the necessities.

We do pet trusts for our clients on a regular basis. If you already have a will, but there’s no pet trust provision in there, we can still update your plan without having to reinvent the wheel. A simple codicil (amendment) to your will solves the problem.

So, to wrap it up – make sure you take care of your fury kids, too. Trust provisions are an easy way to make sure every member of your family is covered when something happens to you.

This is Bobby Sawyer. I am one of the owners of helm and Johannesmeyer & Sawyer. We’d love to help you make sure you have a comprehensive estate plan in place. If you’d like more information on what we do, send me a message on Facebook; email me at bobby@meethelm.com, or find us on the internet. Helm is our online law firm – www.meethelm.com, and Johannesmeyer & Sawyer is our traditional law firm – www.jandspllc.com.

Watch Out for Wire Fraud When Buying and Selling Your Home

Watch Out for Wire Fraud When Buying and Selling Your Home

This is a great video with very important tips on avoiding wire fraud when you’re buying or selling your home:

Protect Your Money from Wire Fraud Schemes When Buying a Home

Incorporating Faith and Values in Estate Planning

Incorporating Faith and Values in Estate Planning

For many, passing along religious beliefs and values to the next generation is just as important as passing along financial wealth and tangible assets. Estate planning creates many opportunities to do this, including:

End-of-Life Care
A health care power of attorney (Advance Directive in some states) lets you name someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you cannot make them yourself. This can be someone who shares your faith and values about end-of-life issues or someone who will honor your wishes. In either case, it is a good idea to provide written instructions about things like organ donation, pain medication (some may want to remain conscious at the end of life), hospice arrangements, even avoiding care in a specific facility. A visit by a priest, rabbi or other member of clergy may be desired. Pregnant women may want to include their preference on medical decisions that would impact the mother and her unborn child.

Funeral and Burial Arrangements
Faith can influence views on burial, cremation, autopsy, even embalming. Faith may also influence certain details in a funeral or memorial service. Some people pre-plan their services and include a list of people to notify (which can be helpful for a grieving family). Some even pre-pay for the funeral and burial plots to prevent their loved ones from overspending out of grief and/or guilt.

Charitable Giving
Giving to others who are less fortunate is common among people of all faiths. Making final distributions to a church or synagogue, university, hospital and other favorite causes will convey the value of charitable giving to family members.

Distributions to Children and Grandchildren
Taking the time to plan how assets are left to family members lets them know how much they are loved, and is another way to convey faith values. For example, providing for the religious education of children and/or grandchildren speaks volumes. Parents of young children can select someone who shares their religious views to manage the inheritance. A letter of instruction to the guardian can include views on the care and upbringing of young children, which are often influenced by faith.

If the children are older and a son- or daughter-in-law is not fully trusted, an attorney can assist with providing for a son or daughter in a way that will prevent an inheritance from falling into the wrong hands. However, making an inheritance conditional or disinheriting a child or grandchild who marries outside the faith or doesn’t share their parent’s faith can backfire. We cannot really force someone to believe as we do, and trying to do so by withholding an inheritance will only create discord in the family and may not be recognized. The emotional scars on the family, especially if a bitter legal fight results, are probably not what parents want for their family.

Transferring faith and values to family members is best done over time, by letting them see your faith at work in your life, taking them to religious services, and letting them see you being charitable. But it’s never too late. Talk to your family while you can. Explain what your faith means to you and how it has helped you through difficult moments in your life. You can also write personal letters or make a video that they can keep and review long after you are gone.

What Should You Do?
Bobby Sawyer offers clients a No Hassle Trust and Estate Strategy Meeting, where they get experienced guidance on how to achieve total asset protection, long term security, and peace of mind for themselves and loved ones. If I’m not the right attorney for the case, you have my commitment that I’ll point you in the right direction. Just call my office at 803-396-3800 to schedule.

The Right Reasons to Start Your Own Company

The Right Reasons to Start Your Own Company

Recent market conditions have produced a bumper crop of startups and venture capitalists. Not enough thought is given to the questions: Which of them will survive during leaner times? Which of the thousands of startups will actually generate profit? A disturbingly large number of startup founders are more concerned with valuations and term sheets than creating a useful product. Too many venture capitalists are rushing into deals without performing proper due diligence. Groups who’ve never shown interest in venture capital are suddenly jumping into multi-million dollar investments. Many are motivated by fear of missing out on the Next Big Thing rather than a rational evaluation of a business’s earning potential.

Every aspiring entrepreneur should carefully reflect on their reasons for wanting to start their own business before quitting their day job, committing their savings to their new venture, and chasing after Series A. While there’s nothing wrong with desiring wealth, autonomy, and freedom from having to deal with a boss or a job you dislike, these things won’t be the driving force behind your startup’s success. In order to persevere through the hard times and achieve success over the long term, you need to have the right motivations.